How Do I Choose the Best Linguist Training?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen
Man holding a globe
Man holding a globe

As you look at different forms of linguist training, consider the type of work you want to do, as your education can strongly impact how prepared you are for certain specific careers. If you want to work in defense and linguistic analysis for the military or law enforcement, then consider training through an army program. Positions in comparative or analytical linguistics often require an education from a college or university; an undergraduate degree should be sufficient for many fields. If you want to teach or perform extensive research in this field, then linguist training that results in a master's degree or higher education may be required.

Linguist training typically consists of learning about different languages and how they are constructed through the process of making sounds and assigning meaning to them. There are some fairly specialized forms of study in this field, however, such as "cryptologic" applications in which language study and analysis are used for military or law enforcement purposes. Work in this type of field consists of analyzing recordings of transmissions and conversations between enemy combatants or suspects in a criminal investigation.

You typically need linguist training from a military organization to do this work, which means you may have to join a branch of armed services in your country. Law enforcement work may be accessible to someone with civilian training, but you might need to focus on both linguistics and criminal justice while in school. A natural skill with language is often beneficial for this type of work, and you may have to know more than one language before you begin your linguist training.

There are many colleges and universities that offer a program through which you can gain linguist training as you work on your degree. These programs are typically intended for someone interested in performing research or working in speech therapy and similar fields. If this type of work interests you, then look for a university that offers an undergraduate program in linguistics or language studies.

A higher level of linguist training may be necessary for some positions, however, so consider post-graduate education. If you are interested in primarily performing research on language and the way in which people construct meaning, then a graduate degree can help you. A doctorate is typically required if you want to teach linguistics at a college level, and professional linguists often acquire this high level of training. Look for universities that offer this type of program, and choose one that allows you to pursue the area of study that most interests you.

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